SUSTAIN is a North-South collaborative capacity-building porject funded by NORHED (Norwegian Programme for Capacity Development in Higher Education and Research for Development). The objective is to strengthen partnership between institutions of higher education with an interest in natural resource governance and the transition to more sustainable societies in Indonesia. The project seeks to expand the ongoing research-based partnership between the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) by involving new partners from Universitas Bangka Belitung (UBB), Universitas Nusa Cendana (UNDANA), and Politeknik Negeri Pontianak.
The SUSTAIN project is based on an assumption that citizen participation plays a vital role in developing democratic and sustainable natural resource governance. This has become particularly relevant in recent years, as competition for control over, access to, and use of natural resources has had a serious effect on biodiversity and the socio-ecological systems in Indonesia. The marginalisation of local communities and detachment of citizens from natural resource management has increased following massive changes in land use, mineral extraction, as well as the exploitation of forest and maritime resources. Population growth and infrastructure development have also put strong pressure on urban and rural ecosystems. As a result, Indonesia have faced a myriad of challenges, including deforestation, land degradation, and pollution, all of which threaten its biodiversity and contribute to global gas emissions.